Mar 19, 2014

RhoDeo 1411 Aetix

Hello, still no news from the missing airplane, although they manage to confuse more and more, it looks to me these Malaysians don't react well to sudden stress, or maybe it's just we in the West are used to much more controlled news.. Anyway 239 lives remain lost, intriguingly there's no beeps coming from the terrorist grapevine. Flight Management System has been altered that's expert stuff, so what has been going on, a suicidal pilot ? His wife and children had just moved out. So how long can we keep this media frenzy up. Meanwhile Ukraine is desperately trying to start world war III, thinking we have nothing to loose, we are completely broke and already possess a nuclear disaster (Tsjernobyl). Maybe if the US comes with their limitless amounts of dollars we can buy off the Russians and buy back the Crimea.

The idea behind today's band started as only a recording project. The plan was to record 15 LPs in 10 years without touring or promotion. Main man Sage thought that the mystique built from the lack of playing traditional rock 'n' roll would make people listen to their recordings much deeper with only their imagination to go by. He thought it would be easy to avoid press, shows, pictures and interviews. He looked at music as art rather than entertainment; he thought music was personal to the listener rather than a commodity. Ah yes what's in a name. Any way it resulted in tight song structures and use of heavy distortion and they have been hailed as extremely influential by numerous critics and musicians ....N'Joy

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Misunderstood, mistreated, underrated, and/or just plain unknown, Greg Sage should be mentioned in the first breaths about trailblazing guitarists and U.S. independent music of the '80s and '90s. Since forming his band, Wipers, in Portland, OR, in the late '70s, Sage has been put through the ringer more than enough to justify his hermetic operating methods and attitude. While most of his devout fans consider it a travesty that his name isn't as known as a contemporary like Bob Mould or even an unabashed fan-boy turned legend like Kurt Cobain, Sage would likely retort that it's not for the notoriety that he began making music. Unlike most other musicians who gain inspiration and motivation from watching their favorite stars revel in popularity and idol worship, Sage's inspiration stemmed more from the joy he got from cutting records on his own lathe. He has been more than content to remain in the underground, retaining optimum control over his own career while lending production help and support to younger bands that look to him for his guidance. Throughout his lengthy and prolific career, he has downplayed or shunned any attention or recognition given to him, preferring to let the music speak for itself.

Initialized with the intent of being a recording project and not a band in the truest sense, Sage formed Wipers in 1977 with drummer Sam Henry and bassist Doug Koupal. Sage's original goal was to release 15 records in ten years, free of traditional band aspects like touring and photo shoots. However, he found out early on that being involved with independent labels involved plenty of compromise -- and that independent labels took a great deal of independence away from him, rather than empowering him.

After a debut 7" on Sage's Trap label (an outlet that Sage also used to release a pair of Portland scene compilations), Wipers recorded Is This Real? on a four-track recorder (free of overdubs) in their rehearsal space. Park Avenue Records was willing to release it, but they insisted that Sage and company re-record everything in a professional studio. Despite the relatively polished outcome, Is This Real? remained the group's rawest and most direct outing. It was full of Sage's raging but agile guitars and what would become his trademark songwriting style, dealing with extreme isolation, confusion, and frustration with an agitated sense of melody. 14 years after its release, Sub Pop picked up the record and reissued it without any involvement from Sage.

Prior to the recording of the group's finest moment, 1981's Youth of America, Henry left to join Napalm Beach. Koupal stayed on long enough to play on a couple of the album's songs but left the band to move to Ohio; Brad Davidson moved in to play bass and Brad Naish took over on drums. Having been unimpressed by the professional studio experience, Sage took it upon himself to record and engineer everything by himself. The move paid off, resulting in a furiously spirited but brief LP full of extended passages that allowed Sage to flex his astounding skills on guitar without sounding like a showoff.

For 1982's excellent Over the Edge, the structures of the songs tightened, the pop sensibility hit full stride. As a result, "Romeo" and "Over the Edge" each sustained a fair amount of radio play in the U.S., thanks to a few stations that were developing play lists that would later be identified as alternative or modern rock. Another factor in Wipers' somewhat increased exposure had to do with the better distribution of their new label, Restless. Before Over the Edge's release, Sage fell out with Park Avenue on a number of unresolved issues. The next studio record, Land of the Lost, didn't appear until 1986. During the lull between studio time, the band toured, Sage released his first solo album (1985's hushed Straight Ahead), and the band released a self-titled live album. Naish left the group in 1985 and was replaced by Steve Plouf. Follow Blind came out in 1987 and The Circle followed in 1988. Aside from some slight production nuances and the occasional dabbling with stylistic curveballs, the three studio albums between 1986 and 1988 more or less swam in the wake of the first three but are far from embarrassments.

A 1989 tour was accompanied with an announcement from Sage that Wipers would be ending. The end result of mounting frustrations with the independent music business and the fact that the band had lost the lease on a studio space they had devoted three years to developing, Sage packed up and headed for Phoenix to remain close to his mother. He left a town that he couldn't get arrested in, let alone reviewed. Plouf came along to Arizona (Davidson married, moved to London, and sporadically played with the Jesus & Mary Chain), and Sage built a fully operational studio in his new hideout. He recorded a second solo record, Sacrifice (For Love), and released it in 1991.

Meanwhile, several alternative rockers became vocal about their admiration for Sage. The most notable was Kurt Cobain, whose band Nirvana covered Wipers songs and asked Sage to open for them on tours. Never wanting to be opportunistic and never wanting to draw attention to himself, Sage politely turned down the offers. Sage would also reason that the timing was never right, as he and Plouf had trouble securing a bassist who would be willing to learn over 100 songs and tour unglamorously to little fanfare. Sage himself was never a fan of touring; trudging through the States to promote records had been nothing but one nightmare after another, he never got a thrill from the attention that comes with being a frontman, and only a couple towns -- specifically Boston and Chicago -- were regularly supportive. Wipers enjoyed most of their touring success in Europe, where they were treated with much more respect and filled theaters holding a couple thousand fans.

With a 1993 tribute record called Fourteen Songs for Greg Sage & the Wipers floating around, the Sup Pop reissue of the first record, and the attendant exposure gained from them, Sage effectively squashed any steam his "career" was gaining by releasing Silver Sail in 1995, a Wipers record that hardly resembled the storming fury that made his back catalog suddenly revered. And then, once the attention waned, Sage and Plouf returned to their '80s aggression with 1996's The Herd. Three years later, the duo unleashed Power in One on Sage's new Zeno label. In 2001, Sage used his own label to release a three-for-one package of Wipers' first three albums. Remastered with plenty of bonus tracks, it's probably one of the most unselfish moves committed by a musician. Electric Medicine, Sage's third solo record, came in 2002.

Influence and legacy

Sage later remarked on their initial reception: "We weren’t even really a punk band. See, we were even farther out in left field than the punk movement because we didn’t even wish to be classified, and that was kind of a new territory. ... When we put out Is This Real? … it definitely did not fit in; none of our records did. Then nine, ten years later people are saying: 'Yeah, it’s the punk classic of the ’80s.'" Wipers became better known after the wildly popular grunge band Nirvana covered two songs from Is This Real?, "D-7" and "Return of the Rat". Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain spoke of being heavily influenced by the band. The Wipers were a major influence on the grunge music scene in general, with bands such as The Melvins, Mudhoney, and Dinosaur Jr. citing them. Wipers albums like Is This Real? and Over the Edge are now widely considered to be among the greatest and most influential punk albums of all time.

In 1992, a tribute album Eight Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers was released by the Tim/Kerr label on four colored 7-inch records, featuring Wipers songs performed by Nirvana, Hole, Napalm Beach, M99, The Dharma Bums, Crackerbash, Poison Idea, and The Whirlees. The CD release of the tribute album was called Fourteen Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers, and expanded to include covers by Hazel, Calamity Jane, Saliva Tree, Honey, Nation of Ulysses, and Thurston Moore-Keith Nealy.

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The production leaves much to be desired with its tinny-sounding drums, but, fortunately, the negatives don't outweigh the positives on this album. Guitarist/vocalist Greg Sage writes fairly simplistic songs with power chords, but each melody infects your brain like a fever. Even though Sage is from Oregon, he sings in a New York-style slur not dissimilar to Joey Ramone. Throughout the album, there is a very dark and ominous feel to the material (e.g., "D-7"), but it's made interesting on tracks like "Alien Boy," which changes from 4/4 time to 2/4 time. Sage also has a unique guitar style where he strums chords and lets them sustain into feedback, which creates rich textures in the songs (e.g., "Potential Suicide" and "Don't Know What I Am").

Wipers - Is This Real  (flac 391mb)

01 Return Of The Rat 2:38
02 Mystery 1:47
03 Up Front 3:04
04 Let's Go Away 1:49
05 Is This Real? 2:39
06 Tragedy 2:01
07 D-7 4:05
08 Potential Suicide 3:34
09 Don't Know What I Am 2:57
10 Window Shop For Love 2:59
11 Wait A Minute 3:04
Bonus Tracks
12 Born With A Curse 1:48
13 Rebel With A Cause 2:11
14 Misfit 1:36
15 Mystery 1:46
16 Tragedy 2:11
17 Let's Go Away 1:52
18 Is This Real? 2:40
19 Alien Boy 3:23
20 Image Of Man 2:29
21 Telepathic Love 1:32
22 Voices In The Rain 1:22

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A grizzly, furious beast of a 30-minute record, Youth of America saw Greg Sage and his Wipers lengthening some of their material to very unfashionable lengths; many a hardcore punk band of the time could tuck a dozen songs about Reagan and fisticuffs inside the title track alone. Opposed to the compromised Is This Real?, Youth of America was engineered and recorded in-house; Sage's time spent in a professional setup for the debut LP frustrated him, and the fact that he's gained complete control here makes it seem as if a cork has been pulled from a bottle. The shackles are off and the group's own personality hits full bloom. Vocally, Sage sounds like a sleepless outcast loaded on an unhealthy amount of caffeine, fraught with a magnified level of paranoia and angst that needs immediate purging -- often, his life seems to be depending on it. "Youth of America" itself is a nightmare locomotive, a ten-minute chug through a persistent rhythm, screeching/careening/wailing guitars, and jarring psychedelic effects. The remaining five songs, which don't lessen the intensity very much, are solid in their own right and are generally more tuneful than the title track. The version of Youth of America to own is actually located on disc two of the three-disc Wipers Box Set, released in 2001 by Sage on his own label, Zeno. Since it runs at the cost of a single CD, there's no financial risk whatsoever. It's also remastered and corrects the completely bungled track order listed on the Restless edition.

Wipers - Youth of America  (flac 442mb)

01 No Fair 4:25
02 Youth Of America 10:27
03 Taking Too Long 3:07
04 Can This Be 2:55
05 Pushing The Extreme 3:13
06 When It's Over 6:36
Bonus Tracks
07 Scared Stiff 2:53
08 Pushing The Extreme 3:11
09 No Fair 4:31
10 When It's Over 6:26
11 Youth Of America 10:26

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A distant cousin of the preceding Youth of America but undoubtedly no less excellent and no less venomous, Over the Edge is a return to the easily digestible song lengths of Is This Real?; however, it all but leaves that debut in its wake. On the strength of some brave/smart radio stations that decided to play this album's "Romeo" (a propulsive horn-flecked slammer in the vein of "Youth of America"), Wipers solidified their status as a certifiable force in the American underground of the early '80s. Songs like "Messenger" and "What Is" show Greg Sage's increasing skill as a pop songwriter. Despite the fusion of punk and pop, the record hardly mirrors the bands that would later be called punk-pop. In fact, this collision of the two elements makes what followed decades later seem twee. There's just too much blood and sweat, and there's too much tightly wound tension released. The overload is tempered somewhat on the album's second side. The arrangements are sparse (and there are less guitar fireworks) when compared to their first-side counterparts, but the level of intensity is hardly sacrificed. Over the Edge is a kind of classic; it might have been created with guitars and drums, and it might have verse-chorus-verse song structures, but it's doubtful that Wipers were allowing any influences to creep into the record. The version to own is actually hidden inside Wipers Box Set, which was released by Sage in 2001. While exhaustive at three discs, it shouldn't cost any more than a typical single-disc release. It also sounds better, thanks to a fine remastering job.

Wipers - Over the Edge  (flac 418mb)

01 Over The Edge 3:49
02 Doom Town 3:56
03 So Young 4:17
04 Messenger 1:55
05 Romeo 4:05
06 Now Is The Time 3:02
07 What Is 2:19
08 No One Wants An Alien 3:23
09 The Lonely One 3:38
10 No Generation Gap 3:09
11 This Time 2:54
Bonus Tracks
12 Mistaken ID 3:05
13 No Solution 2:30
14 Doom Town 3:56
15 The Lonely One 3:37
16 Now Is The Time 3:04
17 Romeo 4:05
18 Our Past Life 1:27

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chris_c said...

over the edge - top, top, TOP album, have some fine memories dancing to this and the pogues before some halfwit reclaimed the stereo (well it was his party). have no doubts DL this - it will improve your life!

Anonymous said...

Looks really good! Cheers for these great posts...but I can't d/load Over The Edge - the netkups link keeps timing out...can you please help?

Anonymous said...

I meant "Is This Real"......sorry!

Rho said...

Hello Yes Netkups seems to have had problems today but all is working well again.

Anonymous said...

A truly inspired choice, Rho. The only one I know is Youth of América, which I love. Looking forward to ITR? and OtE. Massive thanks for all of them!

Unknown said...

Can you please be so kind to repost Wipers Yout of America?
Thank you,

Unknown said...

Thank you so much
All the best

Unknown said...

Thank you once gain

zeroid said...

Hello, love this blog, thanks for the Flac's! Do you think it would be possible to re-up these three Wipers albums for me/us, would be most grateful. Youth of America is such an earworm of a song!

zeroid said...

Thank you very much!